Friday, September 30, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Manna Project has been invited to participate in the Case Community American Giving Awards for a chance to win a MILLION dollars! This is an incredible opportunity for us and we could really use the funding. The contest is simple; it all comes down to Facebook voting. For the first round we are competing against just four other organizations in the youth development category. We have one week to beat out the other four and move onto the second round. If we advance to the second round we automatically win $125,000 and we have the chance at a million!
We won before, we can do it again! In 2009 when Chase first started their Community Giving Awards MPI won $25,000 so we know it is possible, we just need your help!
Voting lasts just one week, from September 28th- October 5th.
Just follow this link it only takes a few seconds and could help us make a real difference in the communities we work in.
You will be prompted to “like” Chase Community Giving and then have the chance to vote for Manna Project under the Youth Developer category.
Help us even more by posting this link as your status on Facebook and Twitter so we can reach out to as many people as possible.
We will keep you updated throughout the voting process, thanks for all the support!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
A heartwarming moment for me was when Dayana, a 10 year old who attended our summer camp and frequents the library, asked if she could come to women’s exercise because yoga helps her relieve stress. I personally started taking aerobic kickboxing classes with my mom and sister when I was her age, and by far the youngest woman in the class. It was awesome to see her proudly take her place in the front of the room as she bravely tested out each of the classes that her busy schedule allows.
The newest and biggest change we will be implementing this year is a step aerobic class, to be taught by Emily on Friday mornings. The women were very excited about the idea, so all we needed were the steps. After walking to the gym down the street to check out models, watching various Youtube videos on how to make steps, and pricing wood at a nearby hardware store, we were ready to get started. The process didn’t turn out to be all that hard, and we managed to make the first 6 steps for free! We used wood and nails we found around the house, got the wood cut for free by some nice gentleman down the street, and had the steps transported to the Centro by our favorite vecino, Ceasar.
The next step for the program, and something we are all anxious for, will be mounting mirrors on the wall of the exercise room. The room occupies a large open space on the top floor of our Centro, with racks of exercise balls and floor mats, and windows overlooking the mountains. It is a fantastic space and perfect for giving classes, but it lacks mirrors, which are fundamental for checking form and accurately following routines. We are currently working hard contacting gyms and athletic stores in the U.S. trying to get money donated so we can have mirrors installed. In the meantime we’ll continue working to improve our workout classes and get more community members interested in their personal health and fitness.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
Now those are two things worth celebrating. These past two weeks have been a big deal for Sangolqui and the surrounding towns in the valley as they have been holding various events to celebrate their annual festival of Maíz y Turismo. We Program Directors have had the opportunity to collaborate with the Ecuadorian Red Cross during some of these events. We are lucky enough to live right next to the Monumento de Rumiñahui, a large statue of the famous Incan warrior for which our district is named. The festival’s parade route ended right in front of the monument, and a majority of the festival’s events happened just a short walk away from the Manna house.
Last Saturday’s parade was a bigger event than any of us had expected, with roads closed off all around the monument and thousands of people crowding the streets (this made getting to the Centro a difficult task). During the event, I had the pleasure of volunteering in the Red Cross tent where I was taught how to give an IV… and then given the opportunity to practice on a fellow volunteer. Luckily for everyone involved, I was never called upon to use my newfound skill. The parade lasted hours, with a continuous flow of musicians, indigenous dancers, Sangolqui beauty queens, and small children dressed like corn. Since people from all over the district showed up for the parade, we had an awesome opportunity to mingle with community members and spread the word about Manna Project.
This weekend’s Corrida de Toros (bullfight) was another story altogether. Traditional bullfights in Spain involve trained Matadors and skilled horsemen collaborating to kill a bull. There is a lot of controversy over the sport, and in some parts of the world it is prohibited to kill the bull in front of the crowd. Sangolqui’s toros give the bulls a chance to fight back. A few days before the Corrida a makeshift ring and stands are constructed out of wood and… what appears to be socks, to hold the bull, the participants, and hundreds of spectators. Unarmed, untrained Ecuadorian men (and once in a great while women) enter the ring with the bull to try their hand as amateur bullfighters, or just for the thrill of being close to such a powerful animal. Participants antagonize the bull and then run terrified for the stands when the bull starts to chase them. Props to our very own Nicole Hamilton and our friend Evo Vaca for being the only mujeres to enter the ring this year. Although it is very entertaining to watch, people do get badly injured during the festival. Needless to say, volunteering with the Red Cross this weekend was a very different experience than helping out during the parade. Our future health care professional Emily was thrilled at the chance to help the injured toreros, and has spent the last three days helping out in the tent. I on the other hand saw enough the first day and have officially retired as a Red Cross volunteer.